Raley's Supermarkets has been named “Retailer of the Year” in the United States in Wine Enthusiast magazine's 2016 Wine Star Awards program.
The West Sacramento, Calif.-based grocer received the honor, bestowed by an impartial panel of industry experts, for its courage to reimagine its wine and spirits category and turn it into a thriving business.Raley's began transforming its wine, beer and spirits department in 2013 to match its quality meat, seafood and fresh service deli offerings: Improvements included inroads into classic regions of the wine world, as well as diverse offerings from California, Oregon and Washington, at all price points, significantly expanding the selection.
The following year, Raley's began hiring in-store wine stewards to help customers understand the complex world of wine. Today, more than 30 of the grocer's wine stewards have completed extensive training in the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), and have passed the WSET level 2 exam. Many of them host a weekly educational tasting focused on a wine region or varietal, offering customers exposure to new regions, varieties and brands.
Raley’s continues to commit resources to the wine department with the installation of temperature-controlled Borgon cases for high-end wine shop stores, as well as the creation of wine and beer bars in several locations. As the department has expanded, the chain has been able to secure allocations of highly sought-after wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Tuscany and California, as well as to develop programs with small producers and importers that typically sell only to restaurants.
Raley's operates 121 stores in Northern California and Nevada under the Raley's Supermarkets, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods and Food Source banners.